First Trapped Ship Leaves Baltimore After Bridge Collapse

A cargo vessel trapped by the Baltimore bridge collapse in March finally managed to leave the city on Thursday. A new temporary channel was opened early in the day, the fourth that has been constructed to allow maritime traffic to pass through.

The doomed Francis Scott Key Bridge plunged into the icy water on March 26 after it was struck by a massive cargo ship which has apparently lost power. Six maintenance workers who were present died, and many large vessels were trapped by the debris.

But the Panama-flagged Balsa 94 successfully passed through the temporary channel as it maneuvered around the collapsed bridge.

Guided by two tug boats, the Balsa 94 also passed the wreckage of the Dali. That container ship started the incident that resulted in the closure of the port’s primary channel.

The ship veered into the massive structure’s support columns.

The now-freed Panamanian vessel is back on its voyage to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, for an expected Sunday arrival. Two other commercial ships took advantage of the deep-water channel after being stuck for weeks.

A total of five ships were trapped by the thousands of tons of steel that collapsed into the entrance of the Baltimore harbor. Still more are expected to enter in coming days as some semblance of normalcy returns — at least temporarily.

The new route will remain open only until Monday or Tuesday before closing again for roughly two weeks. During that time, crews will recover steel beams from the Dali deck and attempt to free the ship and guide it out of the channel.

The waterway is the passage for more automobiles and farm equipment than any other in the U.S., and its closure caused a backup in supply.

Not only has inventory been affected by the collapse that followed the Columbian ship ramming into the bridge, but thousands of jobs were also impacted. Maryland officials pushed for the quick reopening to ease the economic pressure caused by the closing of the harbor to traffic.

There are several programs in place to render aid to workers suffering from the effects of the accident.

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